author Sarah Zettel
date: May, 2104
main character: Calliope Margaret LeRoux de Minuit (Callie)
reading level: 5.0
Bad Luck Girl is the third book in the American Fairy Trilogy. Zettel quickly provides background information, making it easy to enjoy this installment without having read the others in the series. (I happened to have picked up this book along the way and really hope I get a chance to pick up the others as well!)
Callie was raised in Kansas by her White, human mother and hadn’t spent time with her Black, fairy father until this book. Consequently, she knew little of her fairy powers including the fact that she had special powers that allowed her to open and close gates between the fairy and human world. In the previous book, Callie accidentally killed a Seelie princess, causing a war. Callie and her family had to find someplace safe to go. Papa is trying to teach Callie how to use her magic, how to read the world around her and where her responsibilities lie, but these prove to be difficult lessons to a 12 year old who doesn’t forsee the consequences for her irresponsibility. Callie, her parents, and Jack (Callie’s friend) try to travel across country to New York City where there are places that they can be safe and along the way they meet situations that prove to be trials for Callie. How will her family escape the Seelies and what will it take to restore order in the fairlyworld? And, who can she trust along the way? Such provocative dilemmas!!
Zettel layers fairy lore upon the life of a mixed race young girl in Depression Era America. Each of these elements adds a richness to the story without weighing it down. Readers will consider what it felt like for Callie and her family to travel together on a train in Chicago as well as they’ll consider the whether the relationship between humans and fairies is ever one of mutual benefit. It’s difficult to critique a third book in a series for character development because much of it probably happens in previous books. Papa was new to the series in the book and he proved to be an exceptionally complex individual. Callie continues to learn about herself (and her powers) throughout this book. She’s a complex, atypical 12/13 year old girl (she has a birthday in the book) and a blast of fun to get to know!
Sarah Zettel is the author of adult and young adult books which include speculative fiction, mysteries and historical books. Her YA books include the Palace of Spies series. Dust Girl and Golden Girl are part of the American Fairy Trilogy.